By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The Sheridan Police Department has released body camera footage detailing an encounter with a brewery owner last week.
On May 13, Smith Alley Brewing Co. owner Tiffany McCormick hosted a Facebook livestream where she told of an incident she had with Sheridan police earlier in the day.
McCormick told viewers that Police Chief Rich Adriaens and another uniformed officer told her that if her business didn’t comply with health regulations, it would be fined and its license could be revoked.
This was due to the fact that Smith wasn’t requiring her staff to wear face coverings, one of the 21 mandates required by Sheridan County and the state for restaurants and breweries to reopen.
In her original video, McCormick stated she wouldn’t ask her staff to wear masks, citing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act.
On Thursday, a SPD spokesman countered that neither police officer threatened Smith with closure.
“We’re trying to seek compliance through education, warnings and citations as an absolute last resort,” Lt. Tom Ringley said to Cowboy State Daily. “When we got the complaint on Wednesday, Chief Adriaens and the second officer went and met with the owners to educate them on what the standard was and how they weren’t in compliance.”
In the video shared by SPD on Wednesday, Adriaens and the officer enter the brewery and begin talking with a manager, letting her know they received a complaint about staff not wearing masks. The manager confirms this and isn’t wearing a mask herself.
Soon, McCormick joins the conversation, asking Adriaens how he’s able to enforce and fine business owners. When he asks if she’s read the county order, she confirms she has.
“If you want me to write you a violation, if you want me to shut you down, that’s great,” he says. “We don’t want that. We just want you to comply with the order.”
When McCormick asks for clarification of which order Adriaens is referring to, he cites the variance issued for the county that allowed restaurants and bars to open.
She also inquires about HIPAA and ADA laws, stating that if an employee refuses to wear a face covering, she can’t question them or require them to do so. The police chief responded that McCormick also didn’t have to employ anyone who refuses to wear a mask.
The chief reiterates that if McCormick didn’t follow the rules, she would be in violation of the variance order and could be shut down.
In an interview last week, Ringley noted that the same day McCormick’s Facebook video was posted, a Sheridan officer on foot patrol checked in on the brewery and saw employees were wearing masks.